Telemedicine has been an important part of radiology in Europe for more than a decade, and the technology has proven itself as a way of reaching patients in rural and remote areas, of increasing diagnostic accuracy and for reducing the need for patient transfers. "What we have also learned, though, is that there are pitfalls that should be avoided," Lluis Donoso, a member of the executive council of the European Society of Radiology, said at last week's World of Health IT conference in Barcelona, Spain.
Colleagues at different sites need to communicate like they were part of the same team, and the remote radiologist needs to have records of previous exams for each patient, according to the society. "The more information that is available, the better the report will be and the lower the downstream costs," Donoso said.
Now, of course, telehealth has migrated to other medical specialties and even into the home. Peter Schwarz, a professor in the Department for Prevention and Care at Carl Gustav Carus University in Dresden, Germany, presented early results of a diabetes monitoring program underway in the Saxony region, in which wireless glucometers transmit blood-sugar readings by mobile phone directly into an electronic medical record.
"We have preliminary data from 893 patients that suggest patients who use the system take their medication far more regularly. We can also see a clear positive effect on blood glucose levels," Schwarz reported.
For more information about telemedicine in Europe:
- take a look at this Health Tech Wire article